National Farmers' Federation

Australian farm produce ideally suited to the discerning European consumer

Australian agriculture is in the box-seat to benefit from a new free trade agreement with the European Union (EU).
Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and Trade Minister Steve Ciobo today announced that the first official talks towards the FTA would take place in Brussels at the beginning of July.
NFF President Fiona Simson, who led a trade-focussed delegation of farmers to Europe during January, said the news signaled increased market opportunity for Australian primary producers.
“The EU is a niche, premium market for Australian agriculture.
“A comprehensive and high-quality agreement could substantially improve market access for Australian agricultural products such as red meat (beef, sheepmeat and goatmeat), dairy; horticulture; grains and oilseeds; sugar; cotton; rice and wool.”
Statistics from Australian Bureau of Agriculture, Resource Economics and Science (ABARES) reveal that the trade of Australian agricultural goods with the EU is underdeveloped.
“In 2016-2017 Australia exported about $3.8 billion worth of produce to the EU, while we imported agricultural goods worth more than $4.7 billion,” Ms Simson said.
“This is a significant deviation from Australia’s usual agricultural trade pattern, with Australia being a net food exporter with all other major markets. We have an opportunity now to increase our exports to the EU.”
Ms Simson said Australia’s food and fibre was perfectly matched to the discerning European market.
“Our high quality agricultural products can cater for the European consumer, a consumer who is particularly concerned about food and fibre provenance, food safety, animal health and environmental sustainability.”
Ms Simson said continued improved market access with a variety of trading partners was crucial to Australian farmers.
“Australia exports about 75% of its agricultural produce and our farmers are amongst the least subsidised in the world.
“The liberalisation of trade and securing preferential market access is therefore a priority for the NFF.”
Ms Simson said Australian farmers were already benefiting from preferential market access achieved through recent FTAs with China, Japan and Korea.
“We’re also hopeful that the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP 11) will soon be ratified and begin to deliver benefits to farmers.
“Liberalised is good for our farmers, our regional communities and the national economy as a whole,” Ms Simson said.

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